Probabilistic thinking is pervasive in evolutionary theory. It’s not a bad thing, just something that needs to be acknowledged and appropriately handled.
At Uncommon Descent, poster gpuccio has expressed interest in what I think of his example of a safecracker trying to open a safe with a 150-digit combination, or open 150 safes, each with its own 1-digit combination. It’s actually a cute teaching example, which helps explain why natural selection cannot find a region of “function” in a sequence space in such a case. The implication is that there is some point of contention that I failed to address, in my post which led to the nearly 2,000-comment-long thread on his argument here at TSZ. He asks:
By the way, has Joe Felsestein answered my argument about the thief? Has he shown how complex functional information can increase gradually in a genome?
Gpuccio has repeated his call for me to comment on his ‘thief’ scenario a number of times, including here, and UD reader “jawa” taken up the torch (here and here), asking whether I have yet answered the thief argument), at first dramatically asking
Does anybody else wonder why these professors ran away when the discussions got deep into real evidence territory?
and then supplying the “thoughts” definitively (here)
we all know why those distinguished professors ran away from the heat of a serious discussion with gpuccio, it’s obvious: lack of solid arguments.
I’ll re-explain gpuccio’s example below the fold, and then point out that I never contested gpuccio’s safe example, but I certainly do contest gpuccio’s method of showing that “Complex Functional Information” cannot be achieved by natural selection. gpuccio manages to do that by defining “complex functional information” differently from Szostak and Hazen’s definition of functional information, in a way that makes his rule true. But gpuccio never manages to show that when Functional Information is defined as Hazen and Szostak defined it, that 500 bits of it cannot be accumulated by natural selection.
Paul Davies, cosmologists, physicist and agnostic, with Sara Imari Walker, proposed a theory that information, and not chemicals, is at the very foundation of life…Here
Why? Continue reading
My interest was recently piqued by an article in The Atlantic (October 23, 2018) claiming that “Americans over 50 are worse than younger people at telling facts from opinions, according to a new study by Pew Research Center.” Author Alexis Madrigal summarizes the results of the study: “Given 10 statements, five each of fact and opinion, younger Americans correctly identified both the facts and the opinions at higher rates than older Americans did.” But is the fact vs. opinion dichotomy a viable one? Philosopher John Corvino thinks not. In a hard-hitting article titled, The Fact/Opinion Distinction (The Philosophers’ Magazine, 4 March 2015), he surveys several attempts to elucidate the distinction, and concludes that they all fail.
In my research, I have recently come across the self-assembling proteins and molecular machines called nano-machines one of them being the bacterial flagellum…
Have you ever wondered what mechanism is involved in the self-assembly process?
I’m not even going to ask the question how the self-assembly process has supposedly evolved, because it would be offensive to engineers who struggle to design assembly lines that require the assembly, operation and supervision of intelligence… So far engineers can’t even dream of designing self-assembling machines…But when they do accomplish that one day, it will be used as proof that random, natural processes could have done too…in life systems.. lol
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just watch this video:
TSZ Moderator Mung wrote over at PS about why he is a design proponent (https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/t/why-i-am-an-id-proponent/2955):
“[I] believe that design is obvious.”
Let’s be clearer and more accurate with our words than are most IDists at the Discovery Institute (DI) based in Seattle. I as well as most, if not all ‘skeptics’ here believe ‘human design’ is obvious. More importantly, however, so do most actual ‘design theorists’ around the world. Do you agree with us about the obvious reality of ‘human design’, Mung, or not?
IDists based at the epicentre of IDism at the DI in Seattle, as well as those who associate themselves with ‘Intelligent Design’ pretty much everywhere else globally, generally refuse to identify & discuss those ‘design theories’ as legitimate scholarship. Why? Is it an unspoken rule their followers are required to obey? Is it just a more than significant oversight on their part which they are innocent for making? Why otherwise would the DI studiously avoid, except for little nibbles of exposure here or there, a rather significant & well-attended field of study already in existence, using the same exact term as theirs: ‘design’?
Is it fathomable that this is because the DI knows that if they were to expose legitimate ‘design theorists’ who reject IDism as voices in their media echo chambers, those scholars & scientists, philosophers & even sometimes theologians, might outshine their own reactionary politically-oriented ‘intelligent design theories’ (acknowledging it the way they always officially write it now, in lowercase form, according to DI hidden policy) and thus upset the Founders & Donors of the IDM?
Historian Jon Meacham: “To some extent what’s happening is as particularly mainline Protestantism begins to fade from the center of the country, to some extent political strife and political loyalties have replaced religious belief and religious practice.”
The greatest story ever told by activists in the intelligent design (ID) socio-political movement was that William Dembski had proved the Law of Conservation of Information, where the information was of a kind called specified complexity. The fact of the matter is that Dembski did not supply a proof, but instead sketched an ostensible proof, in No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence (2002). He did not go on to publish the proof elsewhere, and the reason is obvious in hindsight: he never had a proof. In “Specification: The Pattern that Signifies Intelligence” (2005), Dembski instead radically altered his definition of specified complexity, and said nothing about conservation. In “Life’s Conservation Law: Why Darwinian Evolution Cannot Create Biological Information” (2010; preprint 2008), Dembski and Marks attached the term Law of Conservation of Information to claims about a newly defined quantity, active information, and gave no indication that Dembski had used the term previously. In Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics, Marks, Dembski, and Ewert address specified complexity only in an isolated chapter, “Measuring Meaning: Algorithmic Specified Complexity,” and do not claim that it is conserved. From the vantage of 2018, it is plain to see that Dembski erred in his claims about conservation of specified complexity, and later neglected to explain that he had abandoned them.
Part of my broader point that Dembski’s argument is support by standard information theory.
The article is pretty technical, though not as technical as the paper by Leonid Levin I got the ideas from. If you skim it, you can get the basic idea.
First, I prove that randomness and computation cannot create mutual information with an independent target, essentially a dumbed down version of Levin’s proof. Dembski’s CSI is a form of mutual information, and this proof is a more limited version of Dembski’s conservation of information.
Next, I prove that a halting oracle (intelligent agent) can violate the conservation of information and create information.
Finally, I show that there is a great deal of mutual information between the universe and mathematics. Since mathematics is an independent target, then by the conservation of information there should be zero mutual information. Therefore, the universe must have been created by something like a halting oracle.
I cannot promise a response to everyone’s comments, but the more technical and focussed, the more likely I will respond.
It’s not every day you discover a new (supra) kingdom, but a Facebook friend has done just that. Based on phylogenetic analysis (that thing that doesn’t tell us anything, heh heh), they differ genetically from known protists more than we do from fungi (which are more closely related to us than to plants).
As most readers at TSZ already know Dr. Swamidass is, or at least attempts to appear, as a new-age prophet with a noble idea of the unifying evolutionary science with Intelligent Design. Not bad a idea…huh? Peaceful relations between two world views… So what could be wrong with that? Right?
There was a lecture given by George Adams entitled, “The Lost Tapes – Potentization & Peripheral Forces” which is read in this video.
This lecture was given to the British Homeopathic Congress in London in 1961. It begins on the theme of homeopathy, but this is just one narrow area of the subject matter of the lecture. He discusses projective geometry in general and how it applies to the natural world.
He talks about the rise of projective geometry:
At the time while physicists and astronomers were busily applying the ancient geometry of Euclid to their problems modified by the newer analytical methods of Descartes, Leibniz and Newton. While this was going on a new form of geometry was arising among the pure mathematicians. A new form of geometry which while including the Euclidian among its other aspects. A new form of geometry was arising which is far more comprehensive than the Euclidian, far more beautiful and far more profound. I refer to that school of geometry which is known variously as projective geometry, modern synthetic geometry or the geometry of position. In the seventeenth century the truths of this new synthetic geometry were beginning to be apprehended by the astronomer Kepler, also by the mystical philosopher Pascal, also by Pascal’s teacher Girard Desargues, a less known but a very important historical figure.
In this post, I’d like to comment on some issues that have been raised by readers over at Professor Joshua Swamidass’s Peaceful Science forum, in response to my article on Michael Alter’s book, The Resurrection: A Critical Inquiry, which convincingly demolishes Resurrection apologetics. But before I do that, I’d like to discuss the Christine Ford case, and its relevance to the evidence for the Resurrection.
Coywolves have been threatening the peace and security of my neighbourhood for many years… Is coywolf an example of macroevolution in action right in front of our eyes? Is coywolf a new species? Or, is it an example of change (microevolution) within a kind?
“…It is perhaps more than a tad ironic to find that many of those who reject the very concept of evolution and demand an actual example of evolution happening before their very eyes, need look no further than their own back yards…”
This is up to Mung and people like him, who are seeking the true answers, to decide…
For those who would like to watch the full documentary please search:
Meet The Coywolf as it is copyright protected and can’t be embedded into the OP.
Suppose Max comes to you with a sealed but clear container consisting of two separate chambers with two visible certified thermometers mounted on the sides of the two chambers. Thermometer one reads 100 degrees and Thermometer 2 reads 10 degrees. Max tells you that the temperature differential you see is the result of tiny invisible demon that controls a microscopic door between the two chambers. As individual gas molecules approach the door, the demon quickly opens and shuts the door so that only fast molecules are passed into chamber one, while only slow molecules are passed into chamber two.
Your mission if you choose to accept it is to devise a way to objectively verify the demon’s design influence on the contents of the container?
As always when it comes to riddles like this there are few ground rules.
1) you may examine the container and it’s contents in any way you like as long as you don’t violate it’s physical integrity because that will let the demon escape and ruin the closed nature of the system.
2) The demon is invisible so efforts to view him directly won’t work
3) You may examine the thermometers to verify that they are functioning correctly or replace them with ones of your choosing if you like.
I don’t want to spoil the fun by sharing my proposed method for detecting the demon’s design until I hear some of your ideas.
What do you say is objective design detection possible in this case?
As most readers at TSZ are already aware according to the proponents of evolution it takes special intelligence to detect the apparent but striking designs in nature accomplished by random, natural processes of evolution.
According to this high-minded thought, whoever believes that life had to have been designed by an intelligent designer, and not by random, evolutionary processes, is ignorant and stupid…
Really? Continue reading
Just a note that I have put up a new post at Panda’s Thumb in response to a post by Eric Holloway at the Discovery Institute’s new blog Mind Matters. Holloway declares that critics have totally failed to refute William Dembski’s use of Complex Specified Information to diagnose Design. At PT, I argue in detail that this is an exactly backwards reading of the outcome of the argument.
Commenters can post there, or here — I will try to keep track of both.
There has been a discussion of Holloway’s argument by Holloway and others at Uncommon Descent as well (links in the PT post). gpuccio also comments there trying to get someone to call my attention to an argument about Complex Functional Information that gpuccio made in the discussion of that earlier. I will try to post a response on that here soon, separate from this thread.
Designer was riding Her submarine through the depths of the ocean one day, taking stock of Her work, and decided, “I’ve learned just about everything I’m ever going to learn from these prototypes. It’s high time to take the next big step toward the ultimate goal, a species of animal in which to ripen souls for harvest.” (Of course, souls that turn out goatlike go to Hell, to suffer eternal torment at the hands of Satan, and souls that turn out sheeplike go to Heaven, to kowtow forever at the feet of God. But Designer had to come up with something considerably more sophisticated than sheep and goats, to satisfy God’s requirement that the Fate of Souls be contingent instead of determined.)
Now, if Designer had done a complete redesign, when advancing from aquatic to terrestrial organisms, Hell might well have frozen over before there were any goatlike souls to fuel the flames. So Designer said, “I know that the optics are different in air than in water, but fish eyes are gonna have to do.”
Lacrimal system After observing that Her transitional prototype frequently took dips in the marsh to wash its eyes, She invented an organ to wet the eyes with saltwater. Compared to the eyes themselves, the lacrimal glands were a cinch to get right. As for eyelids, Designer had already tested them on some sharks. She did not anticipate that drainage would be a problem, but found that mammals with drops of water running down their faces looked very sad. In a flash of brilliance, Designer realized that eyewash could be reused to moisten the nostrils. And that was when She invented the lacrimal and naso-lacrimal ducts. What initially was supposed to be an aesthetic feature turned out to serve a useful function. God was highly impressed, and gave Designer, whom He called Asherah, a generous bonus at Christmas.